Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman has a looming decision on head coach Jeff Blashill

The Detroit Red Wings have finished another losing season. Rebuilds can be brutal. While development of young players is critical, at some point losses must turn into wins. Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill who has been the ire of the Red Wings fans everywhere for sometime now takes center stage for his job security. A short time ago, Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said he would address that quickly.

DETROIT, MI – FEBRUARY 18: Head coach Jeff Blashill of the Detroit Red Wings watches the action from the bench against the Montreal Canadiens during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on February 18, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. The Wings defeated the Canadiens 4-3. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

There has been some improvement from the Detroit Red Wings play. I pointed this out not long ago. The questions that only Steve Yzerman is faced with are:

  1. Was there enough improvement show to merit bringing Jeff Blashill back for another season or more?
  2. Is Blashill a coach who can get the Red Wings to the next level?

While no one is sure which direction Yzerman is leaning and will go, all eyes are on this situation. If Blashill is relieved of his coaching duties who are some options Steve Yzerman could turn to?

I would have to imagine Yzerman would at the very least would put in a call to his former teammate Gerard Gallant. Gallant has maintained a win percentage of .523 or better and has one trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Perhaps, Yzerman could call former Michigan State Spartan hockey player and current head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes Rod Brind’Amour who’s team has this seasons best record and Brind’Amour is 111-63-15  since being named Hurricanes head coach.

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 06: Head coach Jeff Blashill of the Detroit Red Wings watches the play from the bench during an NHL, home opening night game against the Dallas Stars at Little Caesars Arena on October 6, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

There are other quality coaches that are out there. Again until Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings announce a press conference it is all just a guess. When the time comes for whatever is going to happen with the head coach it will kick off a very busy offseason for Yzerman ands the Red Wings.

Stay tuned.

 

 

Head coach Jeff Blashill believes the Detroit Red Wings are a better hockey team this season

Last season the Detroit Red Wings had 17 wins and 39 points in the COVID shortened 71 game NHL season. This season the Red Wings are 18 wins and 49 points in another COVID shortened NHL season. With only a one win difference in the two seasons, Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill insists his hockey team is better.

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 08: Head coach Jeff Blashill of the Detroit Red Wings watches the action from the bench against the Anaheim Ducks during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on October 8, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Anaheim defeated Detroit 3-1. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Jeff Blashill who’s contract is up when the Detroit Red Wings season concludes Saturday, sees positive steps taken by the Red Wings this season. If you disregard one more win, Blashill’s statement may have some validity. No really.

Jeff Blashill has often been a target of Red Wings fans for a couple years now. But, as the developmental coach for the rebuilding Detroit hockey team, Blashill has seen his team have ups and downs. So is he correct? Are the Red Wings better?

For starters the games the Red Wings have won have come by and large with young players in the lineup. That in and of itself is indeed improved progress . It also lends to hope to the future.

Also, the Red Wings have improved defensively. No really. Last season the Detroit defense was 31st or dead last in the NHL, in a season the unit gave up an inexcusable  3.73 goals per game. This season the defense is ranked 20th allowing 2.98 goals per game.

What has not improved much is the Detroit offense. Last season the Red Wings offense was dead last averaging just 2.00 goals per game. This season the Red Wings offense is you guessed it, dead last at a very slightly better average 2.15 goals per game.

The offense needs to be a focal point for Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman this offseason. While the Red Wings wait for top offensive prospects like Lucas Raymond to develop.

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – SEPTEMBER 12: Filip Hronek #17 of the Detroit Red Wings poses for his official headshot for the 2020-2021 season at Center Ice Arena on September 12, 2019 in Traverse City, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

In conclusion, Jeff Blashill is correct, the Red Wings are better this season. There is still a lot of work to be done. But in a long rebuild at least the defense has improved. Not to mention the Detroit Red Wings are not in last place for the first time in a couple seasons. That honor goes to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Steve Yzerman’s next move for the Detroit Red Wings may be replacing Jeff Blashill

Embed from Getty Images While the 2019-20 NHL season is only a moth old. While the Detroit Red Wings are are in a rebuild. Changes both need to becoming and have already started. Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has said patience is needed. One problem, while the Red Wings are void of a ton of talent, the team has regressed from last season. A change at the top is needed. Jeff Blashill needs to be replaced as head coach.

The thought among Detroit Red Wings fans is that Jeff Blashill would be gone after this season. The Red Wings have been blown out in some losses. The team was expected to play hard, continue to grind and be in every game. That has not happened. The Red Wings clearly lack confidence, never a good thing with young player.

The Detroit Red Wings are on their way to a 48 point season. Let that sink in. That would be the worst point total since the 1985-86 season for the Red Wings. Weather the team tanks or does not tank 48 points should not be tolerated.

I will be the first to say I am for the tank. Next summer’s NHL draft is the deepest most talented draft in a long time. But in a rebuild, point totals need to go up every season, not down.

The team genuinely seems disengaged on the ice. They look flat and as if they do not care. That is on the head coach. Jeff Blashill has been the Detroit Head coach since Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi were all rookies. The team is getting worse.

Here is one example, the Ottawa Senators are one of the NHL bottom feeders. The Red Wings lost at home to the Sens 5-2. The Red Wings have a more talented roster. That should never happen. There is zero focus and zero desire to win right now. All on Blashill.

While a coaching change alone does not cure all ills, it is a starting point. Steve Yzerman could (and most likely will) send a clear message to his team. This will not be tolerated.

The longer Blashill is allowed to stay as head coach things could get worse. The Time for change is now!

Detroit Red Wings give Jeff Blashill a two year extension

Embed from Getty Images Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill will be back behind their bench the team announced the two year contract Tuesday morning. General manager Ken Holland had been talking about an extension since the trade deadline.

The timing of the contract comes as the Red Wings have enjoyed their longest winning streak of the season, at five games, and have won seven of their last eight games. “I’m not going to do a one-year deal,” Ken Holland said. “I think Jeff has to walk in that locker room and the players know that he’s the boss.”

It appears the front office likes how competitive  Blashill has had the team playing, and the development of the young guys who are key to the rebuild. Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Bertuzzi are all having career years this season.

Jeff Blashill  135-143-47 as Red Wings head man. Ken Holland is convinced Blashill is a better coach now than when he started. Perhaps he is. He has done a solid job with young players. Despite having a losing record behind the bench.

The Detroit Red Wings are committed to keeping Blashill to oversee the rebuild, as they should be. He came to Detroit as a known player development specialist. He has done his job. Not too mention most nights the Wings have been very competitive in games.

“I grew up a Red Wing fan, so as a lifelong fan, it’s unbelievable to be able to do this on a daily basis,” Jeff Blashill said. He went on to say he believes the team is  starting to head in the right direction.

One of the biggest criticisms of Blashill has been his tendency to favor underperforming veteran players. This season has been different. He is letting the young players play a lot.

A rebuild is not about wins and losses. It is about getting the young players to take the next step and become playoff ready. Jeff Blashill has done and is doing that. He absolutely should be able to see the rebuild through.

Detroit Red Wings: Blashill

Embed from Getty Images Last week when the Detroit Red Wings announces general manager Ken Holland, would return media and fans turned attention to head coach Jeff Blashill.

Ken Holland, recently said that Blashill, would indeed return to his post on the Detroit bench. This was met with a mix of emotions from the Detroit Red Wings, fan base.
While it is absolutely true Blashill, makes some head scratching moves at times. He has transformed the Red Wings, into a two way team and the Wings young players took big steps forward.
What needs to happen is a couple of things. The team must get stronger on the forecheck. They also must form an identity. That is squarely on Jeff Blashill’s shoulders.
I’m not disappointed or surprised Blashill was brought back given the improvement in Detroit’s younger players. Fans should stop complaining and wait to see how this plays out.
With off season conditioning and the NHL draft. Ken Holland doing what he does best scouting. The Red Wings rebuild is worth keeping track of. I know that most fans do not want to hear that. But it is going to be ok. The Detroit Red Wings are close to being good again.

Detroit Red Wings: Houston we have a problem

Embed from Getty Images While the Detroit Red Wings have entered a painstaking rebuild. While Wings general manager, Ken Holland has amassed draft picks and shed salaries.

Red Wings notorious for making prospects not named Dylan Larkin play 3 full seasons in the lower levels in order to develop them. There is help on the way. I fully expect Dennis Cholowski to develop into a top 4 pairing defenseman. And a couple others.
But, for me the problem is not with the lower level prospects. It’s with the Detroit Red Wings themselves. In particular head coach Jeff Blashill. He is not leading the young players on the important things. Instead he calls them out to the media. That is no way for a coach to keep a peaceful locker room.
The young Red Wings are not grasping and growing how to play and win. Last week Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg voiced his frustration with young players but was wise to not call the coach out.  Perhaps, Zetterberg should have given a slight nod Blashill’s way.
The Red Wings, will most likely have a new general manager after the season. In a rebuild where teaching young players is of utmost importance it is clear the Red Wings need a new face on the bench. Jeff Blashill must be replaced.
Even if the unthinkable happens and Ken Holland is brought back. It would be best if the Wings went in a new direction entirely. Fans want to see it happen.  We will soon find out if the rest of the front office feels the same way.